New Delhi: AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s “experiment” to revive the Congress in Uttar Pradesh seems to have been unsuccessful. Priyanka Vadra put in place a team of young generation leaders, keeping aside the old faces. But this experiment made no impact and the Congress is exactly where it was a year ago.
On the contrary, several senior leaders have started parting ways with the party. Vadra is the only significant face of the party in UP, but what she is doing is part-time politics sitting in Delhi. As a result, the Congress continues to be weak in Uttar Pradesh, with benefit going to the Samajwadi Party.
The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also seems to be weak in UP. Ever since the BJP came to power in the state, Mayawati’s firebrand image has taken a beating. Experts believe that Mayawati is now isolated in the politics of UP and is, therefore, making political compromises. She avoids launching any direct attack on the ruling BJP. With one and a half years still to go before the assembly elections of UP, the political atmosphere for the same can be seen even now. The next fight for power in UP will be between Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav. This does not, however, augur well for the Congress.
Since 2013, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra have been doing one experiment or the other, with none of them turning out to be successful. In one such experiment, Rahul Gandhi handed over party responsibilities in various states to young leaders, resulting in tussle between the young leaders and seniors. All of the young leaders miserably failed to strengthen the party. The situation in the party remains unchanged even now. The leaders who wrote to the Congress high command seeking drastic changes are under the cloud of suspicion. Around 13 months ago, Priyanka Vadra gave responsibilities to new faces which led to internal fights. This resulted in older leaders getting disillusioned with the party, some of whom joined SP. Some more of them will move to other political destinations when elections draw closer. Out of power for over two decades in UP, the Congress could not take any decision on time. In the last elections, Congress tried Prashant Kishor’s strategy with the slogan “28 saal UP behaal” and struck an alliance with SP just before elections. What it got was a massive defeat, which was followed by Congress’ debacle in the Lok Sabha elections. After this, Rahul Gandhi left UP. Somehow, he mustered up the courage to fight in Amethi. But Rahul Gandhi later stayed away from UP handing it over to Vadra. Vadra is now unable to ensure coordination between remaining oldies and young leaders. Secondly, the Congress is unable to shun the politics of caste and religion. Muslim appeasement continues to be hallmark of the Congress politics. At the same time, Congress is also oscillating between Brahmins and backwards. Both Rahul Gandhi and Vadra hit the street against the Hathras incident, but it lost momentum. No big agitation of the Congress against “atrocities on Dalits and women” was visible on 5 November.